Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC) held a webinar on Wednesday.on Imposition of health Levy is a win-win situation for govt.
Malik Imran Ahmad, Country head Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK) told the participants that it is necessary to implement a health levy, it will help fund the health department and generate revenue for the country. Currently, health cost due to tobacco-related diseases is Rs 615 Billion that is 1.6% of Pakistan’s GDP.
In Pakistan daily, 1200 children become active in tobacco, implement health levy on cigarettes can discourage smoking, boost revenues, and contain non-communicable diseases like cancer, diabetes, and stroke.
He further mentioned that government should immediately implement a Heath levy to save 40 billion in revenue annually.
Kashif Mirza manager media and communication and anti tobacco activist, SPARC said that the proposed health levy bill is to implement a 10 rupees tax on a cigarette packet.
He also said that the tax increases are a win-win situation because they are beneficial for both public health and government revenues. Government revenues raised in this way can be used for health and other public benefits.
Taxation on tobacco products needs to be increased to balance the health deficit given the fact that Pakistani citizens are already burdened with taxes on essential items, the government can’t generate resources for health programs.
Haris Jadoon filed Manager at SPARC questioned that in 2019, after the announcement of the budget for FY 2019-2020, the federal cabinet approved the long-awaited Health Levy bill on cigarette packs, instructing the relevant government department to immediately implement the decision of the Cabinet.
Shumaila Muzammil child and women rights activist says Why the Health Levy bill on cigarette packs is still on hold, also according to the Federal Board of Revenue FBR, they have no objection over the health levy, delay is from the Ministry of National Health Service NHS in providing the draft bill. A Health levy on cigarettes must be implemented, already tobacco is killing more than 170,000 every year.